Dear Reb Daniel,
As a parent of children, who lives near Ganei Geula, and frequently davens there, I was extremely concerned when I read your posting regarding a possible pedophile who may be lurking in the neighborhood.
As a frum Yid, I was also concerned by the apparently idiotic response allegedly attributed to the new rav, Rabbi Berger, which serves as fresh cannon fodder for all the "rabbi bashers" out there in cyberspace.
Being the sensible person I am, I approached Rabbi Berger this morning, asking him if he was aware of the story going around. He said that he actually had not been aware of the story until an aquaintance of his from Benei Brak faxed him a copy of the original article, a copy of which he pulled from his pocket to show me. He was also preplexed as to how such a story appeared in print and who was behind it, as there was not even a crumb of truth to it!
I gently asked him, if he meant that there actually had been an incident, but his response was different then reported, or did he mean to say that the entire story is fabricated?
He emphatically answered, that as far he's concerned, the entire story is FABRICATED!
He is not aware of any specific allegations of any possible pedophile lurking in the neighborhood. He was NEVER approached by any reporter, and he surely never said what was FALSELY attributed to him. In addition, as the rav of the neighborhood, he is also not aware of any other rabbis in the neighborhood who have taken the position he allegedly quoted from them!
To use his words: כל הסיפור מצוץ מהאצבע
Rabbi Berger told me that he's still trying to find out who's behind this false story, and is seriously contemplating legal action against the original publishers of the story.
I humbly learnt an important lesson today. Don't believe everything you read! Do your due diligence before spreading some juicy lashon hara about someone else!
I would appreciate if you could post this e-mail as a seperate posting. While I'm a very busy person, I've taken the time and effort to write this to you, as I feel that a great Chilul Hashem has been perpetrated by the publication of this story, and it would be an appropriate attempt at Tikkun to publish this rebuttal.
I would appreciate of you you withhold my name from public. Should the need arise in the future to make my name public, we can revisit the subject again.
PS I posted the following comment to the NRG-Maariv site. They have of yet to publish it:
דיברתי הבוקר עם הר' ברגר כדי לברר אמיתת הכתבה. הוא ענה לי בבטיחות, שכל הסיפור מצוץ מהאצבע, ולא היה ולא נברא. הוא אף פעם לא ראויין עך ידי שום כתב, וגם רבני השכונה שכביכול מצוטטים על ידו, לא ידועים לו כאלו.
הר' ברגר הוסיף, שאינו יודע מי עומד מאחורי הכתבה השקרית, אבל הוא שוקל ברצינות להגיש תביעה משפטית נגד הגורמים בדבר.
ולכל אלו המאמינים לכל סיפור עסיסי על החרדים, תנסו פעם לברר אמיתות הסיפור לפני שאתם מפרסמים את זה הלאה!
show details 7:36 AM (1 hour ago)
Update: The NRG-Maariv site has published my comment